Happy New Year!

I really don't do resolutions. About the only resolution I make is 'to resolve not to resolve.' It's not that I think it's not good to improve one's self, but I don't think New Year's resolutions are the correct method for affecting change.

The real problem with New Year’s resolutions is that you have to measure yourself to see what needs to change. In some cases that measurement is fairly straightforward. If you want to lose weight, we all know how to measure that change. If you want longer hair, we all know how to measure that change. But what if you want to be a better parent, or spouse? What if you want to improve your spiritual side? How do you measure that? Often we grab at something like, ‘I won’t yell at the kids’ or ‘I’ll read my Bible every day.’ While these things may be measurable, and even a good thing, they don’t really fully measure our goal. That’s a problem. Not necessarily the best way to improve ourselves.

I think the real question is this, how are you measuring yourself? There is no way you can improve yourself without knowing what, and how, you are measuring. Are you measuring yourself by what popular culture says is good or bad? By what a family member or close friend says is good or bad? Are you measuring temporal things or eternal things? The list of possibilities is long. But knowing what you are measuring will tell you what you value.

I hope you are measuring the things that REALLY matter. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

Happy New Year and may God bless you in 2008.


Thesis on Gift Wrapping

A friend sent me this. Enjoy! A Merry Christmas!

This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Wise Men; Gaspar, Balthazar and Herb, went to see the baby Jesus and, according to the Book of Matthew, "presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper. If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: "And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throweth it away, but Mary saideth unto him, she saideth, 'Holdeth it! That is nice paper! Saveth it for next year!' And Joseph did rolleth his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the frankincense."

But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:

1. They were wise.

2. They were men.

Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off. This is not just my opinion: This is a scientific fact based on a statistical survey of two guys I know.

One is Rob, who said the only time he ever wraps a gift is "if it's such a poor gift that I don't want to be there when the person opens it." The other is Gene, who told me he does wrap gifts, but as a matter of principle never takes more than 15 seconds per gift. "No one ever had to wonder which presents daddy wrapped at Christmas," Gene said. "They were the ones that looked like enormous spitballs."

I also wrap gifts, but because of some defect in my motor skills, I can never completely wrap them. I can take a gift the size of a deck of cards and put it in the exact center of a piece of wrapping paper the size of a regulation volleyball court, but when I am done folding and taping, you can still see a sector of the gift peeking out. (Sometimes I camouflage this sector with a marking pen.)

If I had been an ancient Egyptian in the field of mummies, the lower half of the Pharaoh's body would be covered only by Scotch tape.

On the other hand, if you give my wife a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, she can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. My wife, like many women, actually likes wrapping things. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she wraps the batteries separately, which to me is very close to being a symptom of mental illness. If it were possible, my wife would wrap each individual volt.

My point is that gift-wrapping is one of those skills like having babies that come more naturally to women than to men. That is why today I am presenting:


Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped. If, when the recipient opens the gift, neither one of you recognizes it, you can claim that it's myrrh.

The editors of Woman's Day magazine recently ran an item on how to make your own wrapping paper by printing a design on it with an apple sliced in half horizontally and dipped in a mixture of food coloring and liquid starch. They must be smoking crack!

If you're giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper! Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning:

MY WIFE: Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree?

ME: It's a gift! See? It has a bow!

MY WIFE (peering into the trash bag): It's a leaf blower.

ME: Gas-powered! Five horsepower!

MY WIFE: I want a divorce.

ME: I also got you some myrrh.

In conclusion, remember that the important thing is not what you give, or how you wrap it.

The important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt.


Merry Christmas

I love it when people do something unexpected with music. These guys do the unexpected with this song.

Can you name the 80's song they end with?

[HT MicroExplosion]



The next Pixar movie looks interesting. If it's as good as some of their others, it should be good.


That's potentially the worst commerical ever at the beginning of the clip.

[HT Cries of the Heart]


Ugly with a captial UG

The new Wizards uniform is the worst thing I've EVER seen. When the team walked out onto the court wearing these, I was completely in shock. These are a complete and total disgrace to basketball, sports, and man-kind.


Have you ever seen anything worse?


Dorothy Proctor

It's been a tough week. My Grandmother went missing on Saturday, December 8th, when she missed a luncheon. She left after church to make the trip to her friend's home for lunch (about 4 miles away from her church). She was next seen in Mineral (80 miles away) and then hours later in Chico. She was trying to get back to Paradise where she lived. The last people that she got directions from in Chico said she looked fine. She showed no indication that she had been lost for 8 hours. She seemed fine. They gave my Grandmother directions and she was able to repeat the directions back to them just fine. Unfortunately she was unable to get on the correct road going home. Our theory is that like most elderly people, it was hard for her to see at night and she just couldn't get to where she needed to be, even when she knew where that was.

She got onto a back road and eventually onto a dirt road where she got the car stuck in the mud. That was sometime after 7:30pm on Saturday – probably around 8 or 9.

We searched for her almost non-stop. My brother, Brett, was really instrumental in leading the whole effort. He inolved the media. A relative had access to an airplane and helped search. Several people drove and hiked the local roads where we thought she might be. Basically, we did everything we could do. The police and media and everyone in the town was very helpful. We had a lot leads to track down, so we were busy from early until late every day.

She was found right next to the car on Wednesday by a horseback rider who was out exercising the horse. We got the word Wednesday afternoon that it was my Grandmother. She didn't make it through the first night.

While we all knew that was the most likely outcome. There was still hope of a miraculous ending.

My Grandmother worked for the Adventist Church her entire career. She was an accountant for the New Jersey Conference and the Virginia Conference. Even at 87 years old she was still counting the money for her local Paradise church. I'm quite sure that I will get to see her again in heaven.


Evel Knievel

I grew up when Evel Knievel was in his prime. He was everywhere. It seemed like he was always jumping something - or at least trying to jump something. His impact on my childhood was amazing. I even had an Evel Knievel lunch box. As a boy, my friend and I were always trying to emulate Evel by jumping our bicycles over various objects. We jumped tractor tires, bales of straw, we even jumped my friend's parents car. We often emulated Evel's failed attempts too. I'm not sure how many times we ended up a pile with the bike on top of us. But we'd get up, brush ourselves off and try it again.

The fact that Evel did his jumps on a Harley Davidson street bike still amazes me to no end. He wasn't using some dirt bike with a nearly limitless suspension, it was a street bike. Wow! That's tough.

Like everyone else, I was saddened to learn of Evel's passing. They just don't make them like that anymore. Truthfully, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing - but it's clearly the passing of a legend and an era.